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Hodler painting fetches CHF8 million at auction


An oil painting by Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler has been sold at auction in Zurich for CHF8 million ($8.4 million), double the estimate. It is one of a series of landscapes representing the Montana plateau in canton Valais.

Sotheby’s fixed an estimate of CHF3.8 to CHF4.5 million for Montanalandschaft mit Becs de Bosson und Vallon de Réchy (Montana Landscape with Becs de Bosson and Vallon de Réchy), dating from 1915. It was sold on Tuesday after a long battle between bidders in the room and by telephone. The European buyer wished to remain anonymous.

Another Hodler painting, a lake view from 1905 entitled Der Champfersee with a bottom estimate of CHF3.5 million, remained unsold at the auction.

Acquired directly from the artist by the owner’s family before 1918, it is the first time the Montana mountain landscape appeared on the market, although it had been displayed in international exhibitions in the past.

In total, the auction of 76 lots of Swiss art brought in a total of CHF12.56 million, Sotheby’s said, including works by Félix Vallotton, Albert Anker and Giovanni Giacometti.

Born in Bern in 1853, Hodler spent much of his life in Geneva and was in close touch with the artistic upheavals of his time. For many years his reputation as a patriotic painter obscured the leading role he played in the transition of European art from the 19th century to modernism.

Hodler produced about 700 landscapes, many of them towards the end of his life. He died in 1918.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR